Education News Roundup: July 12, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Our Schools Now gets some mixed responses at hearings it held on its initiative to raise taxes for schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqx (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aqy (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aqA (LHJ)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aqX (CVD)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aqN (SGN)

UEA sues Utah State Board of Education over the new educator license online look-up tool.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqz (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aqE (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aqH (AP via OSE)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aqI (AP via PDH)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/ar1 (AP via USN&WR)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/ar3 (AP via Ed Week)

New report looks at ‘STEM deserts’ in poorer school districts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqB (Ed Week)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqC (Change The Equation)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

In Salt Lake and Utah counties, varying receptions for Our Schools Now initiative’s $700M-plus tax increase
Town halls » Bid to raise income, sales taxes to boost education draws support, opposition and a lot of questions.

Union sues to block online access to past Utah teacher discipline cases
Database » The website doesn’t describe misconduct but offers searchable information on punishments.

Educators Promote Communication, Alignment for Future Student Success

Kairos Academy to make case to charter school board to remain open

InTech looking to expand to seventh, eighth grade

Park City adult students graduate with GEDs

Granite High alumni will get a chance to own piece of old school building

To make way for Bountiful plaza, Stoker School to be demolished in July

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Dan Hansen

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Owen Memmott

OPINION & COMMENTARY

The Price of Job Growth

Help Me Grow Utah: Helping children through the 5 stages of literacy development

Watch This Refresher on Trump’s Education Budget in Under 60 Seconds

How Goofing Off Helps Kids Learn
Letting children rest and play gives their brains opportunity to reboot.

NATION

‘STEM Deserts’ in the Poorest Schools: How Can We Fix Them?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Will Speak to Group That Backs ‘Bathroom Bills’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Calls On D.A.R.E. to Help Fight Opioid Epidemic

NEA President: ‘No Reason to Trust’ Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos and Newt Gingrich will be in downtown Denver this month with ALEC

Revised Alabama graduation rate pegged at 87.1 percent

The district where kids beg to go to summer school
No grades and lots of laptop time in a tiny Idaho town pushing the envelope in personalized education

Family says teen killed himself in ‘Blue Whale’ challenge that’s alarming schools

 

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UTAH NEWS
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In Salt Lake and Utah counties, varying receptions for Our Schools Now initiative’s $700M-plus tax increase
Town halls » Bid to raise income, sales taxes to boost education draws support, opposition and a lot of questions.

Orem . When school starts for her three children each fall, Marci LeMonnier said Tuesday, she is asked by administrators to donate supplies like copy paper to compensate for strained budgets.
It’s a shame, the Provo resident said, that Utah’s last-in-the-nation school spending doesn’t allow for even basic office supplies.
“We claim to love and cherish our children,” she said, “but we are not willing to fund their education.”
LeMonnier was among about 50 Utahns who met at Orem Elementary School to discuss the Our Schools Now initiative, which seeks to raise at least $700 million for public education through a combination of sales and income tax hikes.
The meeting was one of seven held simultaneously throughout the state Tuesday evening, as the initiative’s organizers prepare to launch a petition drive to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqx (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aqy (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aqA (LHJ)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aqX (CVD)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aqN (SGN)

 

Union sues to block online access to past Utah teacher discipline cases
Database » The website doesn’t describe misconduct but offers searchable information on punishments.

Utah’s largest teachers union is suing the state school board over a new website that allows the public to search a database of disciplinary actions taken against educators.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in 3rd District Court by the Utah Education Association, but it has not yet been formally served to the Utah Board of Education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqz (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aqE (AP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aqH (AP via OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aqI (AP via PDH)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ar1 (AP via USN&WR)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ar3 (AP via Ed Week)

 

Educators Promote Communication, Alignment for Future Student Success

Salt Lake City-Education is changing. As many industries in the Beehive State complain their advancement is being held back by workforce shortages, many look toward education to cure their ills-if not now, then in the future. Just last year, Governor Gary Herbert kicked off an initiative called Talent Ready Utah, which aims to connect educators with the industries hungry for their help.
Stackable degrees, pathway programs, apprenticeships and other initiatives have also rolled out in Utah in the past several years, aiming to help students take advantage of new pathways to success that may not saddle them with debt, or that may allow them to get a job directly out of their program.
A group of more than 20 educators and industry professionals met Tuesday morning at Holland & Hart’s downtown office as part of Utah Business’ annual Education Roundtable. The shifting landscape of education and how these new pathways and programs fit into traditional education models-and what they bring to the table-was top of the mind for many in attendance. In tweaking ways to adequately preparing our future workforce, what can educators, counselors, and the business community do?
http://gousoe.uen.org/ar0 (Utah Business)

 

Kairos Academy to make case to charter school board to remain open

SALT LAKE CITY – The State Charter School Board on July 19 will accept public comment and hear a presentation by representatives of Kairos Academy, a charter school for teen moms and pregnant teens.
The school, located in West Valley City, is appealing an earlier decision by the charter school board to revoke its charter over concerns about academic performance, qualifications of school faculty and enrollment.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqF (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aqO (DN via KSL)

 

InTech looking to expand to seventh, eighth grade

InTech Collegiate High School in North Logan is gauging community interest in adding a seventh and eighth grade for the 2018-19 school year.
Principal Jason Stanger said some elementary and middle school students decide that science and math isn’t for them and by the time they get to high school, they may be behind in those STEM fields. He wants to spark their interest earlier.
“We want to try to turn them on to it, we’d like to do that at an earlier age, and that’s what seventh and eighth grade will allow us to do,” Stanger said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqM (LHJ)

 

Park City adult students graduate with GEDs

Eleven Latino adults recently graduated with their General Education Development certificates after completing a course put on by the Summit County Library and the Park City School District. According to a press release, the graduates are: Aby Chacon, Gustavo Cansino, Maritza Cruz, Maria Garcia, Marco Tafur, Flor Loya, Arturo Perez, Diana Romo, Teresa Vasquez, Manuel Garcia and Victor Samano. Spanish is the primary language for the students, but most of them also speak English. Before the course, many of them had no formal education beyond junior high, and some are now considering secondary education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ar2 (PR)

 

Granite High alumni will get a chance to own piece of old school building

SOUTH SALT LAKE – Granite High School alumni will get a chance to own a piece of the school’s campus as crews slowly but surely demolish the vacant buildings.
The Granite School District will give alumni a chance to own a brick of some of the campus buildings, located at 3305 S. 500 East, beginning Monday and running through Thursday, July 20.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqP (KSL)

 

To make way for Bountiful plaza, Stoker School to be demolished in July

BOUNTIFUL – Demolition of the Stoker School moves closer to reality now that a team has been selected for the project and a start date has been planned.
The old Stoker School was the first consolidated elementary school in Davis County and housed the University of Utah Bountiful extension from 1981 until May 2017. The school is being torn down so a community plaza can be built in its place.
In a meeting June 27, the city council approved a demolition contract with Mkp Enterprises, said City Manager Gary Hill. The project will cost $137,700, which was the lowest of the five bids the city received.
Demolition of the building is scheduled for the end of July. The entire demolition project, including filling in the hole, should be done by the end of October, if not sooner, Hill said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqG (OSE)

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Dan Hansen

Dan Hansen, a teacher at Wilson Elementary in the Nebo School District, is being recognized as this week’s Utah Valley Educator of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqJ (PDH)

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Owen Memmott

Owen Memmott, a sixth-grade student at Meadow Brook Elementary in Springville, is being recognized as this week’s Utah Valley’s Student of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqK (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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The Price of Job Growth
Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

You’ve heard the old saying about giving away the farm. That’s exactly what Utah’s doing with its generous, albeit onerous, tax incentive program. Don’t get me wrong. It did help the state weather the recession-but at what cost? The Salt Lake Tribune ran a package of stories questioning why the state keeps its tax-incentive data secret. After all, it just handed Amazon the deal of the century. The company will get a $5.6 million rebate for building a warehouse here, promising 1,500 jobs, but only 130 will be required to pay above county average. In 2012, Think Progress criticized Utah’s decision to give Goldman Sachs, one of the country’s most profitable companies, some $47.3 million for 1,065 jobs. The Pew Center warns that lawmakers often approve incentives without knowing potential costs, and Utah’s hidden data doesn’t help. With tax dollars flowing liberally to businesses, it’s no wonder there’s an initiative to raise taxes for schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqY

 

Help Me Grow Utah: Helping children through the 5 stages of literacy development
(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by Miriam Martin, care coordinator for Help Me Grow Utah, a free parent information and referral phone line that supports healthy child development

All parents want the best for their children. All parents want to make sure their children grow and develop normally.
That’s why the Help Me Grow Utah resource line makes sure parents have the tools they need to address any areas of concern early on. One of the most common developmental delays we see in children is communication delay, which can have a significant impact on a child’s development.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqL

 

Watch This Refresher on Trump’s Education Budget in Under 60 Seconds
Education Week analysis by columnist Andrew Ujifusa

Did you forget all about the federal education budget? We’re not offended, but we’re here to help.
On Thursday, the House appropriations subcommittee that handles school spending will consider a bill that funds the U.S. Department of Education for fiscal 2018. It’s likely the legislation will ignore much of what’s in President Donald Trump’s spending blueprint for the department that his administration released in May. But what are the highlights of Trump’s plan? We put together a snappy 58-second video for you that covers how spending would change, what Trump wants to cut, and what he wants more money for.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqR

 

How Goofing Off Helps Kids Learn
Letting children rest and play gives their brains opportunity to reboot.
Atlantic commentary by LEA WATERS, president-elect of the International Positive Psychology Association

Savoring and gratitude are both forms of directed attention. But in contrast to that type of on-task focus, free-form attention is what the brain defaults to when it’s off-task, allowed to move in any direction it wants. It happens when the brain is in what scientists call the resting state. In the 1990s, neuropsychologists began to delve into free-form attention and found that it has many benefits, including for children’s learning and their brain development. To shift instantly into free-form attention, all an individual has to do is goof off.
Now just any kind of goofing off won’t due. There’s a constructive form of goofing off that is restorative to the brain and therefore important for strength-based parenting-parenting that focuses on kids’ strengths instead of their weaknesses. Good goofing off is active; the mind is not simply being “fed” stimuli. Rather, the activity engages the mind in a way that simultaneously gives it free rein. Good goofing off happens when the person participating is competent enough at the activity that he or she does not have to focus closely on the process or the techniques. It happens when reading, cooking a familiar recipe, shooting baskets, or simply daydreaming.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqV

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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‘STEM Deserts’ in the Poorest Schools: How Can We Fix Them?
Education Week

Students attending high-poverty schools tend to have fewer science materials, fewer opportunities, and less access to the most rigorous mathematics classes, like calculus and physics, than students attending low-poverty schools, a new analysis points out.
That means that they’re less likely to encounter real-world problem-solving that characterizes advanced work in those fields-as well as the most rigorous content that serves as a benchmark for beginning college majors or minors in those fields.
The report comes from Change the Equation, a nonprofit made up of business members who push for higher standards and policy attention to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqB

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqC (Change The Equation)

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Will Speak to Group That Backs ‘Bathroom Bills’
Education Week

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will speak at a closed event Tuesday for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group that has supported state-level “bathroom bills” that limit access for transgender students in school.
The group has also backed lawsuits against schools that allow transgender students to use facilities-like locker rooms and restrooms-that match their gender identity.
Sessions’ speech at the group’s Summit on Religious Liberty, which will be closed to the press, comes months after the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance on the rights of transgender students.
That directive told schools that they would be in violation of the Title IX prohibitions on sex discrimination if they did not recognize transgender students’ gender identities in a number of areas, including pronoun usage and facilities access, or if they failed to protect students from harassment on the basis of gender identity. In rescinding the guidance, the Trump administration left it up to states and districts to interpret federal law.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqD

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Calls On D.A.R.E. to Help Fight Opioid Epidemic
Education Week

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called upon D.A.R.E.-a drug prevention education program that has been criticized in the past as ineffective and counterproductive-to help address the nation’s opioid crisis Tuesday, saying the group’s work is needed to keep drug traffickers from “finding new victims.”
“Experience has shown, sadly, that it is not enough that dangerous drugs are illegal,” Sessions told the organization at its annual training conference in Dallas. “We also have to make them unacceptable.”dare.jpeg
Sessions criticized an approach to drugs that focuses more on treatment than criminal enforcement, which some have said is necessary to address the growing abuse of opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain killers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqS

 

NEA President: ‘No Reason to Trust’ Betsy DeVos
Education Week

The nearly 3 million member National Education Association is facing a rocky road ahead, including a projected loss of membership and a chilly relationship with the Trump administration. Teachers’ union President Lily Eskelsen García sat down with Education Week to talk about a range of issues facing the union, including its engagement with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the threat posed by a looming U.S. Supreme Court case, and the NEA’s new, tougher charter-school policy. Excerpts follow.
The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

What are you going to do to help NEA prepare for the potential loss of agency fees [charged to nonmembers who benefit from collective bargaining]?
Of course we saw this coming as soon as [Neil] Gorsuch was put on the [U.S. Supreme] Court. But we have a lot of states like my state, Utah. We have a very strong membership in Utah. And we don’t have a bargaining law or a right to bargain, we just do it.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqZ

 

Betsy DeVos and Newt Gingrich will be in downtown Denver this month with ALEC
Denverite

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will speak in downtown Denver at the annual conference of the conservative network American Legislative Exchange Council next week. So will Newt Gingrich, the one-time majority leader for Republicans in the U.S. House.
The ALEC conference will be at the Hyatt Regency from July 19 to July 21. The exact speaking schedule wasn’t immediately available.
It might be a little awkward: DeVos recently criticized Denver because its voucher system doesn’t allow parents to take public money to pay for private schools.
ALEC is a Koch brothers-backed organization that has been instrumental in convincing various state legislatures to pass new “stand your ground” laws and stricter voter ID requirements, as Politico reported.
It describes itself as “America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.”
In a news release, the group praised DeVos for being a “stalwart champion of educational choice.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqT

 

Revised Alabama graduation rate pegged at 87.1 percent
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama State Department of Education has revised the state’s graduation rate after an earlier figure proved inaccurate.
Information released during a meeting Tuesday shows Alabama’s graduation rate was 87.1 percent in 2016.
That’s higher than the 85 percent rate announced in April, but lower than the 89 percent rate reported in 2015. The previous figures were found to be incorrect.
The new rate was made public after a lengthy discussion about how faulty district-by-district information was posted online by the state in April.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqQ

 

The district where kids beg to go to summer school
No grades and lots of laptop time in a tiny Idaho town pushing the envelope in personalized education
Hechinger Report

WILDER, Idaho – Eight years ago, the principal of Idaho’s Wilder Elementary School, Jeff Dillon, made a tough decision: He pulled his children out of the district high school to send them to private school. “I took a beating for that,” Dillon admitted, but added it was the right choice because the school was doing a poor job meeting the needs of students.
Fast forward to today. Dillon, now the district’s superintendent (and still its elementary school principal) just wrapped up the first year of a personalized learning program that gives students in all grades an iPad and the ability to master work at their own pace. What’s the reaction?
“My kids begged me to come to summer school,” said Chantelle Mullins, a mother of two elementary school students. More than half of the learners – 58 percent – in the 270-student elementary school are involved in summer learning programs; about 20 percent of kids at the combined middle/high school are continuing to study in the summer.
“I keep thinking, ‘Is this real?'” Dillon said.
Wilder is part of a new national trend to customize learning to each child. But the tiny district of just under 500 students is taking the idea to the extreme. Located about 40 miles west of Boise, Wilder has erased grade levels and been awarded a state waiver to avoid seat-time requirements (meaning a student does not need to prove she spent x number of hours learning algebra, for instance). Other schools around the country are starting to take notice – and schedule visits.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqU

 

Family says teen killed himself in ‘Blue Whale’ challenge that’s alarming schools
Washington Post

Fifteen-year-old Isaiah Gonzalez was a soon-to-be sophomore who just joined the ROTC program at his high school. But on July 8, Gonzalez’ father Jorge stepped into his son’s bedroom in their San Antonio, home. Isiah was dead, hanging from the closet, an apparent suicide. Next to his body was a cellphone propped up on a shoe, broadcasting the suicide, according to KSAT.
If the teenager’s sudden suicide wasn’t tragic enough, the Gonzalez family quickly learned Isaiah’s end was possibly tied to macabre online spectacle known as the Blue Whale Challenge.
Essentially a dangerous personal obstacle course of 50 daily tasks that include everything from watching horror films to self-multination, the game is rumored to be behind unexpected deaths across the globe. But because the challenge plays out on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, the reality is hard to prove. In fact, due to the extreme premise alone, some says it’s just an Internet hoax invented to frighten parents and other adults.
Isaiah Gonzalez’s family says their son was definitely involved in Blue Whale and was sending friends pictures of the completed tasks. “It talks about satanic stuff and stuff like that and my son was never into that,” Jorge told WOAI. “They blew it off like it was a joke and if one of them would have said something, one of them would have called us, he would have been alive,” his sister Scarlett Cantu-Gonzales said.
Isaiah’s story is not unique. CNN reported on Monday that a 16-year-old unidentified girl in Atlanta is believed to have recently taken her life while participating in the challenge. If true, the two cases appear to be the first deaths in U.S. linked to the internet fad.
If alarm is its goal, it’s succeeding.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqW

 

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CALENDAR
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UEN News
http://www.uen.org

July 13:

Utah State Board of Education committee meetings
8 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

Native American Legislative Liaison Committee meeting
10 a.m., 707 N Main Street, Brigham City
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=SPENAL

July 14:

Utah State Board of Education meeting
8 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

July 17:

Administrative Rules Review Committee meeting
9 a.m. 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00003112.htm

July 19:

Utah State Charter School Board hearing and meeting
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://utahpubliceducation.org/2017/07/10/state-charter-school-board-hearing-meeting/#.WWPF3YgrLcs

July 25:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPEXE

July 26:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPPED

August 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

August 23:

Education Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=INTEDU

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